Monday, January 30, 2006

Here fishy, fishy, fishy!

From the "You Coulda Seen This One Coming From a Mile Away" Department:

Guess who showed up in class today? You got it, Merlot...and she was even on time, if not 5 minutes early. That'll teach me to have a trigger-happy Send finger.

Today, we went on a field trip to one of the largest seafood suppliers in the Southeast. It was really cool...or shall we say extremely cool as in freeze your ass off kind of cold? I really do love industrial food operations...I'm hooked on that damned Unwrapped show on the Food Network, because I find all that machinery they show just fascinating. My favorite thing is whenever they show a chocolate enrober. Big waterfalls of rich cocoa brown goodness cascading down...okay, I'll stop now before it gets embarassing for me and for you.

J. our tour guide was very informative and really gave us a good overview of how their business works. We saw fresh fish, frozen fish, live lobsters (an extremely pissed off 7-pounder was wanting a piece of all of us when he was pulled out for display)--an entire huge room devoted to maintaining and keeping these briny denizens alive--fresh oysters and clams and a ton of other stuff.

I think one of the most interesting things I learned today was about sushi-grade tuna. The tuna is beheaded, cleaned (i.e., eviscerated) within 15 minutes of being caught. Then, it is flash-frozen to about 70 degrees BELOW zero. J. told us that essentially when you thaw that fish out, it really is no more than 15 minutes old.

According to their marketing rep, fish are "the last hunted species." (And here we used to think it was single men with no baggage or communicable diseases!). She mentioned the movie, The Perfect Storm, as a good example in layman's terms about how rough it was to be a commercial fisherperson. (I don't know about you guys, but for some reason I had no idea what would happen at the end of that movie. Maybe I was having a blonde moment or my brain is too Hollwoodized or something, but I really was sitting in theater as the credits rolled going "wait, wait, you mean no one saved them??" I know, I know...a big rousing DUHHH! for me.)

The one thing I noticed or noticed the lack of was an icky fishy smell. The place was incredibly clean and there was lots of attention to the sanitation details, which is EXACTLY what you want in your seafood purveyors. There was one room we walked into that smelled just like the ocean--that crispy briny scent--and you almost expected to see pelicans swooping down on the fish cutters. (BTW, good fish is of course not supposed to smell fishy.)

Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads, fish heads eat 'em up, yum!

Unfortunately, no one handed us a large-ass lobster to take home as a souvenir. That would have made it a Perfect Day.

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